Senator highlighted that less than 20% of USPS vehicles in Arizona have air conditioning and some USPS employees have died from heat exposure in parts of the country
PHOENIX – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema, Chair of the Senate Government Operations and Border Management Subcommittee, held a field hearing in Phoenix about the dangerous effects of hot vehicles on U.S. Postal Service employees and operations in Arizona. The Senator highlighted that less than 20% of USPS vehicles in Arizona have air conditioning and some USPS employees have died from heat exposure in parts of the country.
“Summer temperatures in Arizona can regularly rise above 110 degrees Fahrenheit, and temperatures inside the postal vehicles climb much higher… Today less than 20% of USPS vehicles in Arizona have air conditioning. These high temperatures, and the inability to avoid the heat during a shift, creates a dangerous environment for the men and women who deliver our mail each day,” said Sinema, Chair of the Senate Government Operations Subcommittee.
Sinema held the field hearing at the USPS District Office in Phoenix. The Senator examined how the lack of air conditioning in the current USPS vehicle fleet affects USPS employees and operations in Arizona. Sinema’s hearing was an opportunity to highlight why USPS should take dangerous heat, especially Arizona’s, into consideration when rolling out new air-conditioned fleet in 2024. Sinema aims to get air-conditioned vehicles to letter carriers in Arizona as quickly as possible.
The lack of air conditioning is important in Arizona where temperatures can rise above 120 degrees Fahrenheit – seriously affecting USPS operations and employee health. According to the Center for Public Integrity, more than 900 USPS employees suffered serious injury or death due to heat between 2012 and 2018 nationwide. Only 583 air-conditioned postal vehicles out of 3,625 are currently operating in Arizona – less than 20% of all vehicles.
USPS is in the process of acquiring their new air-conditioned vehicle fleet – 20% which will be electric vehicles. USPS has not decided how they will roll out the new air-conditioned vehicle fleet once acquired. Sinema’s field hearing served as an opportunity to urge USPS to take extreme heat into account when deciding which locations to bring new vehicles first.